Keith Giffen, the iconic creator of characters such as Lobo and Rocket Raccoon, has died at age 70.
“I told them I was sick,” Giffen wrote in the post. “Anything not to go to New York Comic Con. Thanx. Keith Giffen 1952-2023. Bwah ha ha ha.”
The latter is a reference to the classic laugh usually shared by Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, two characters Giffen was intrinsically associated with over the course of his career.
Born in Queens, New York in 1952, Giffen started writing comics in 1976 with Marvel Preview #4. From there, he created Rocket Raccoon, a character who would become an integral part of the Marvel Universe… As well as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and on-screen depicted by Bradley Cooper in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie trilogy.
From there, he worked on Legion of Super-Heroes, helping craft “The Great Darkness Saga” with Paul Levitz. In 1987, he launched Justice League International with J.M. Dematteis and Kevin Maguire, a title that would come to define Giffen’s career. Rather than focusing on DC Comics’ biggest characters, JLI mixed Batman with second-stringers like Fire, Ice, and the aforementioned Booster Gold and Blue Beetle with an irreverent tone that won over fans and has launched a thousand imitators.
In 1983, Giffen helped create Lobo with Roger Slifer in Omega Men #3. Though the character was initially a straightforward villain, true to form he quickly morphed into a semi-parody of hardcore eighties characters like Wolverine and The Punisher. Similarly, Giffen created the character Ambush Bug in 1982, a goofy, fourth-wall-breaking weirdo who had his own legion of fans.
Recently, Giffen was instrumental in helping reboot Blue Beetle for a new generation. Along with writer John Rogers, he helped introduce the character Jaime Reyes.
While Giffen was part of the same school of artists as George Perez and Jim Starlin, his art brought humor and humanity to his characters. It complimented the cosmic work of his compatriots while forging its own path.
Giffen reportedly passed away on October 10, 2023, at his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. No cause of death is known at this time.